MSNBC host Al Sharpton salivated as former Tennessee state Representative Justin Jones declared that a “third Reconstruction” is underway in his state, calling the vote to oust him and another Democrat “racist” and proclaiming that Republican Speaker Cameron Sexton’s “white supremacist system” won’t stop it.
(Video Credit: MSBNC)
On his show “Politics Nation,” Sharpton spoke with Jones about the ‘Tennesse Three’ who were involved in a protest against guns on the House floor which got two of them expelled. Jones and fellow Democrat Justin Pearson, who are both black, were given the boot over the incident. Rep. Gloria Johnson, who is white, missed getting kicked out by one vote.
Johnson appeared earlier on Sharpton’s show and threw the race card, viciously claiming that racist comments happen in the Tennessee House “regularly.” Naturally, the MSNBC host played up the significance of Jones having “a white colleague in this fight.”
Jones in turn claimed that Democrats were building a “fusion” movement and announced, “We’re in the midst of a third Reconstruction here in Tennessee.”
“But what it means is that this white supremacist system being led by Speaker Cameron Sexton is an attempt to divide and conquer us,” he asserted. “But in reality, you see we, the Tennessee Three, we continue to stand together.”
TN Dem who survived expulsion cries racismhttps://t.co/HdsDHCJlky
— American Wire News (@americanwire_) April 7, 2023
He leveled more charges of racism at the GOP stating that “though their vote was racist, though their vote was to expel the two youngest black lawmakers, their attack on democracy hurts all of us, whether you’re black, brown, or white.”
Justin and Pearson also made an appearance on “Meet the Press” Sunday as they did the media rounds further bashing Republicans as racist coming up just short of calling for a revolt. They told host Chuck Todd that Sexton “runs the Capitol like it’s his private palace” and that there’s “no democracy in Tennessee.”
(Video Credit: Meet the Press)
Todd asked Jones about the support he has received from the Biden administration.
“I think the most resounding message we’re hearing from the White House and across the world and people across this nation is that this attack on democracy will not go on unchallenged,” Jones declared. “That the Tennessee House Republicans’ attempt to crucify democracy has instead resurrected a movement led by young people to restore democracy, to build a multi-racial coalition… The message is that we will continue to resist, that this is not the end. Their decision to expel us is not the ultimate authority, but the people will hold them accountable.”
Pearson went on to state that Sexton is “destructive to our democracy” for labeling the protesters as “insurrectionists.” He also claimed that the State Capitol “has always been a toxic work environment,” claiming “when you have people who make comments about hanging you on a tree and hanging black people on a tree as a form of capital punishment, when you wear a dashiki on the House floor and a member gets up and they talk about your dashiki saying it’s unprofessional, they’re really sending signals that you don’t belong here.”
Todd then asked Jones to explain the rule changes that have been implemented in recent years to regulate statehouse demonstrations in Tennessee.
“They’ve limited debate to what they say is five minutes. But in reality, you ask one question, they’ll spend five minutes answering it and your time is up. You can’t reclaim your time. Or the Speaker, Cameron Sexton, an autocrat, will not even call on you, will call the question, and will cut off all debate. When we went outside to support their protest, both myself and my brother, Representative Pearson, our voting machines were turned off so we couldn’t vote on the House floor,” Jones charged.
“The Speaker, you know, I mean, he runs the Capitol like it’s his private palace and so there is no democracy in Tennessee. Tennessee is the most undemocratic state in the nation. Even in committees, you’re silenced from talking about the issues. When we tried to talk about the issue of mass shootings that plagued our community, we were silenced. And all they offered our community were moments of silence, in fact, and empty thoughts and prayers. And our community deserves more than that. But instead of responding to the grief and trauma of our community, the House Speaker Cameron Sexton once again silenced us, even the day of our protest, and that’s what led us to the well,” he added.
Leftist political commentator Bakari Sellers predictably blamed former President Trump on CNN Saturday for the steps taken against the Tennessee Three.
(Video Credit: CNN)
The Nashville Metropolitan Council has overwhelmingly voted to reinstate the two Democrats, which will set up a further confrontation over the incident, according to NBC News.
“Twenty-three members of the 40-seat Metropolitan Council confirmed to NBC News or on social media that they plan to vote to reinstate Jones to the Legislature,” NBC reported.
“The council, which currently has 39 members, will hold a special meeting Monday to discuss an interim replacement for Jones’ seat. Vice Mayor Jim Shulman said he expects the council will take action to suspend the rules at the meeting to vote on a successor to fill Jones’ seat instead of holding a monthlong nomination period. In interviews with NBC News, members expressed outrage at Jones’ expulsion and said hundreds of constituents have reached out to demand that he be reinstated,” the media outlet added.
Pearson could also be returning to the chamber soon, as Democrats hold a super-majority on the Shelby County Council. As of Thursday, the council said it will consider Pearson’s reinstatement, provided there’s no legal reason preventing it. County Assistant Attorney Marcy Ingram told The Commercial Appeal that she saw no legal challenge in reinstating Pearson.
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